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  Lappet Butterflies


  Xu Chi


  At the foot of Mount Emei, around Fuhu Temple, there lives a species of butterfly--one of the rarest rarities of the mountain-that is probably even more beautiful than the most beautiful butterflies in the world.


  With its wings closed it resembles a withered tree leaf hanging from a branch--scarcely noticeable to the human eye. Gathering its wings with exquisite patterns, it conceals its beautiful colors.


  When it flutters out from a cluster of blooming flowers and alights somewhere in the middle of its graceful flight, it turns into a dried leaf, not even of a withering yellow, but of a deathly grey.


  t disguises its shape and colours in order to protect itself, but nevertheless it can't help ending up in being captured, not only because of its beauty, but more because of the withered quality of its appearance that covers up its beauty.


  It is misled to believe that by so doing it can keep itself out of danger. On the contrary it makes itself more attractive, because there is another creature-man-that is cleverer than this butterfly. 'Ibis creature is extremely skilled in masquerading himself; no masquerading whatsoever can slide by under his nose.


  Man captures it, makes a specimen of it and sells it in the market at increasingly high prices. What happens as a result is that there is hardly any of the butterflies to be found-the species is dying out.


  The government has now decided to put a ban on its capture, but it's too late. The ban, instead, multiplies its price. The butterfly is on the verge of extinction.


  Since we have got a pair of wings of beauty and truth, there is no reason to hide them. Why do you have to turn yourself into a withered-leaf-like butterfly as you are bound to be netted and sold at the market? Isn't it better to fly around freely on your flashing, colorful wings and keep up the line of your species though some of you have to meet their doom?


  I want both sides of my wings to shine.


  I hope everything in the world shows their true colors.



  A Pickle Pot


  Li Hanrong


  Mother came from our home village. She stayed with us for ten days. When she was about toleave, she wanted to buy us something as a present.


  "You've got everything," she said, "but you seem to have got nothing. The TV set is yours, butthe people who walk back and forth in it are all strangers, even murderers, corrupt officials andthieves come in and out of it from bite to time. The radio cassette player is yours, but it's allothers who sing in it. The books on the shelf are yours, but they are all written fry others. Thefridge is yours, but all the year round it's filled with frost that comes from God knows where.Though they snake your life easy and comfortable, none of them BELONGS to you in the restsense of the word. "


  On the day she was to leave for home, she got up early in the morning and brought back apickle pot from the market. "Make some pickles in it," she said, "and have something that suitsyour own palate."


  Since then pickles of our own taste had been added to our diet. When we had guests, we oftenhad pickles to go with me. Slightly intoxicated, everyone would comment, "A country flavor,not bad. Not bad, a country flavor."


  So we had something to our own taste. When we looked at the pot, it was standing quietly atthe corner. . Amid the hustle and bustle of our everyday life and in the apartment of reinforcedconcrete, the pot stood there by itself, brewing an old and simple flavor.

  (刘士聪 译)



  The Irrigation Water Came Gurgling


  Yao Jinwen


  Black-brewed Zhao, widowed over ten years ago when she was thirty, was having anothersleepless night. Her family's contracted land had cracked because of drought, but there wasstill not a cloud in the bright sky. If production dropped this year, what should her family of fourdo except go hungry?


  It was a pity that her seventeen-year-old daughter didn't yet know what worry was. Just a fewminutes ago she was shouting to her mother, "Don't you worry! late at night the reservoir willlet out water. Scabby-headed Xue will certainly give us our full share of water, won’t he?" Butnow she was asleep with a smile still on her lips. Black-browed Zhao didn't see eye to eye withthe implementation of contracted land policy, because she had seen with her own eyes whenshe was still very young how her grandfather and Scabby-headed Xue's uncle had fought toothand nail over irrigation water. She would shudder even at the thought of it. Now Scabby-headed Xue was in charge of the irrigation water in the brigade; who could say for sure that hebore no grudge against her?


  Black-Mowed Dian became so agitated at the thought that she got off the bed, took a hoe andwent out to the field.


  Black-browed Zhao used to be called Ah Zhao. After her husband's death, she never smiled andalways scowled at others. The old bachelor Scabby-headed Xue could only bury his longings forher in his heart. Thus there spread in the village a popular saying: "Scabby-headed Xue neverwept; Black-browed Zhao never smiled."


  As she approached the field, Black-browed Zhao heard the faint creaking of a waterwheel andsaw Scabby-headed Xue pedalling water under the full moon. His bald head and his greasy bareback were glistening like silver. Wouldn't he have to wait for the water to come late at night likethe rest of us if he had not been in charge of the irrigation water? The earlier one got water, themore rice one would reap-who wouldn't like to see his own bowl full of rice?


  However, when she came to her own contracted land, she got such a pleasant surprise that forthe first time she beamed with joy. Why, water came gurgling happily over her land, glitteringlike silver. The sweet water seemed to be flowing into her heart. Yet Scabby-headed Xue's ownland above hers was still parched with thirst. She looked at Scabby-headed Xue withincomprehension. Tears welled up in her eyes. She plucked up her courage to call him"Brother Ali Xue" for the first tithe.


  The waterwheel came to a stop with a creak and Scabby-headed Xue saw Black-browed Zhaogazing at him with a foolish smile. He felt dazed as if she were not the Black-browed Zhao hemet day in and day out, but rather Chang Er, the Moon Fairy coming down from the moon.Those black eyes of Black-browed Zhao seemed to be exuding tenderness and love.


  "Why, it's you, Sister Ah Zhao? I, I thought your contracted land must have become parchedand l was afraid it would be too late if water came at midnight." Scabby-headed Xue becametongue-tied.


  Black browed Zhao blushed to her ears and was lost for words, "Your own contracted land also. . ."


  "Never mind, I'm in charge of the irrigation water. It would be my fault if anyone's land gotruined because of drought. It's my pleasure to do my job well." Xue felt hot all over his bodyand hastily resumed pedalling. Irrigation water came gurgling again.


  Black-browed Zhao gently picked up the white shirt at the ridge of the field and put it on Xue'sbare back, while joining him in the pedalling. Xue threw her a glance of gratitude. Black-browed Zhao said with affection and consideration, "It's midnight, take care not to catchcold."


  In the moonlight, the two kept close to each other. She saw the collar of his white shirt wasworn out and said to herself, "I must mend it for him tomorrow."







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